Today I was inspired to revist the idea of time alone with God based on my friend Amy Carroll's blog yesterday. Here's here blog address if you want to read it: http://www.amycarrollp31.blogspot.com/
Amy had also written a great devotion for Proverbs 31 Ministries about how she studies the Bible. You can read that here: http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/2009/09/he-speaks-part-ii.html
In light of such great advice, I'm posting 9 tips for making the most of your quiet time. Just so you know, these are written out of struggle - not victory. I consider this a daily challenge. But what a difference when I MAKE time to sit at the feet of Jesus. In fact, that's where I'm going as soon as I post this.
1. Schedule a time. This will be different for each of us. The secret is to find something you can stick with. Often Jesus would awake early in the morning and go to a quiet place (Mark 1:35). However, you might find that evenings work better for you. Evaluate what is realistic with your schedule and try it. Don’t worry about what others think is the “right” way, just concentrate on what works for you.
2. Eliminate distractions before you start. What are your distractions when you pray or read? If you find your mind drifting to your “to-do” list, try writing things down before you start your quiet time. Can you turn off the phone? Can you find a project or a special video for the kids? Be creative.
3. Set aside a special place. Diane Hewes wrote in her article “Time to Pray,” (The Proverbs 31 Woman, June 2001) “I have set aside a place in my home that is comfortable and cozy for me, and make that my regular place of meeting. Each time I pass by that chair I am reminded that the King of Kings will be waiting for me.”
4. Start with praise. It is easy to lapse into a list of requests when we pray. God does care about the details of our life, and we should share our smallest concerns with Him. However, God is also worthy to be praised. When we focus on how great and mighty is our Lord, somehow our problems look small in comparison. One way I praise God is by listing His characteristics, such as His faithfulness, loving-kindness and gentleness. Perhaps you can incorporate singing into your quiet time. The Christian bookstores have many selections of praise music.
5. Keep a prayer journal. Keep a list of prayer requests from friends and family. Remember to include God’s answers to your prayers. Not only will you have an opportunity to participate in divine intervention, but your faith will deepen as you see God’s faithfulness in action.
6. Incorporate Scripture reading. Make this time of study interesting. Bonita Lillie shared some ideas for invigorating a quiet time in the October 2000 issue of The Proverbs 31 Woman. Here are some of her ideas:
· Study a portion of scripture you’ve never read before.
· Read and study the parables of Jesus.
· Read about the miracles of Jesus.
· Find a thought-provoking Bible study book. These books guide you step-by-step through a study of a particular topic or passage of scripture.
· Try reading a different translation of the Bible.
· Study familiar children’s stories such as Noah’s Ark, Daniel in the Lion’s Den and Jonah.
7. Read a good book on Christian living. Take this time to read books by great Christian authors. The Proverbs 31 Ministry offers a wonderful variety of books that encourage women in all aspects of their lives. (www.Proverbs31.org)
8. Be faithful. Imagine how faithfully the Lord waits for us to come to Him. When I hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son, my heart burns with love for the Father who faithfully watches and runs to me when He sees me in the distance. Out of my love for God, I desire to be faithful to Him. Be consistent in your time of prayer and study and watch God pour out blessings upon you.
9. Watch for changes in your life. As we spend time with God and dig into His Word, we will see changes in our life. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” As the seed of God’s word is planted in your life, you will see fruit. Remember to thank Him for those changes.
If having a consistent quite time is a challenge for you, don’t be discouraged. You are not alone. Remember that God will never condemn you (Romans 8:1). He will however, lovingly prompt you to come to Him on a regular basis.
If maintaining a regular quiet time seems impossible – that’s ok too. Paul knew that in his weakness, he was made strong through Christ’s power (2 Co. 12:9) Christ said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” That same power is available to you.
In His Love,
P.S. My friend Luann Prater has some great tips on being an encourager. Come back tomorrow to read those.